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May 06, 2022 8 min read


We all know that door hardware is important to home interiors and exteriors for aesthetics, function, and security. Did you know that changing your door hardware from one finish and style to another can drastically change the overall feel of your home interior? It can! But choosing the right style and finish of door hardware is only part of the design choice. It is also important to know which door hardware you need for each room in your house and your exterior doors.

Knowing what each knob or lever does (how it functions) and where it goes can be a bit confusing. So, if you are new to the remodeling world or want to know a bit more about what kind of door hardware you need on the different doors in your home -  keep reading.

This article will consider the different types of door hardware and where in the home they are used. We will look at the difference styles of door hardware - knobs versus door levers, the difference between locking and non-locking door hardware and also consider the function of the door.

Here is our quick and uncomplicated guide to buying door hardware.



DOOR HARDWARE - Knobs & Levers


Well, to start, there are two primary styles of door hardware - door knobs and door levers.


Door Knobs are round or oval in shape; they come in different finishes and styles and are used on the interior and exterior of a home.

Where should you use a round locking door knob?


Door Levers are similar to door knobs in function, but they have long bar-shaped handles; they come in different finishes and styles and are used on the interior and exterior of a home.


What is the difference between a lever and a knob?




There are two categories of door hardware - locking and non-locking.


That is pretty self-explanatory - right? Some door handles lock, and some door handles do not.


But where do you use locking door knobs, and where do you use non-locking door knobs?


What is a door lever used for on a kitchen pantry door?  
    When do you use a door knob with a key?









Well, when we refer to "locking" versus "non-locking" door hardware, we generally mean door knobs and levers that use a keyversus door knobs and levers that do not use a key.


And as you don't want to move about your house with a set of keys to get
from one room to another, non-locking knobs and levers are used on the
homes' interior doors, whereas locking door hardware, which requires a key, is used on exterior doors.



Door Levers and Door Knobs INTERIOR DOOR FUNCTION

Let's start with the non-keyed hardware which are found in the interior of your home. Whether door knobs or door levers, all of the series will have three main "functions" for the door hardware. When we refer to "function" of a door knob or lever - it simply refers to what the handle is designed to do and it will vary from one door type to another.

Here are the three main functions of door knobs and door levers:

  1. Dummy Knobs and Levers
  2. Passage Knobs and Levers
  3. Privacy Knobs and Levers

1. Dummy Knobs and Levers

Where do you use dummy door levers?

What are Dummy Door Knobs and Dummy Door Levers?

Despite what you may be thinking, the word "dummy" doesn't have anything to do with how intelligent the knob is and we aren't being insulting -  it just means that the dummy lever/knob is non-functional and do not have connections to a latch.

So if dummy door levers and dummy door knobs are not functional, then why have them?


Good question!


Although they are used categorized as "non-functional", dummy door levers and door knobs are needed and useful. They may not turn or latch, but the dummy lever and knob act as a static handle to pull the door open. Think of the dummy handle as a cabinet pull or knob. They don't turn or move, but they are essential for operating a door.


Additionally, dummy door knobs and door handles are often necessary decoratively to add balance to an overall design.


One final thing to remember, when purchasing dummy door knobs, they are not sold in with two sides (front and back sides) - and that is due to where they are used.

So...let's get to that...

Where are Dummy Door Knobs and Dummy Door Levers used?

Generally, dummy door knobs are for non-latching doors like pantry doors, side-by-side French doors, or linen closets. Double or "french doors" that lead to offices or dens commonly use an operating lever or door knob and a dummy on the non-functional side of the door, as seen in the image below.

French doors with dummy and passage door levers


2. Passage Knobs and Levers

Door levers used for hall and closet doors.

What are Passage Door Knobs and Passage Door Levers?

Passage door hardware is sometimes called "Hall and Closet" door hardware and is functional non-locking hardware. Passage door levers and passage door knobs are used on doors that don't need locking but still need a functional knob or lever.

Where are Passage Door Knobs and Passage Door Levers used?

As their secondary name implies, these door knobs are used for hallways and closet doors. The passage function of door hardware is excellent for rooms that you don't want to have locked but have or require a door.

This stunning entryway features passage doorknobs on the double front door closet. The passage knobs are functional and have a latch, but they do not require any locking function.


Front hall closet with black passage knobs


3. Privacy Knobs and Levers

round privacy knob for bathrooms and bedroom doors.

What are Privacy Door Knobs and Privacy Door Levers?

As the name indicates, privacy door knobs and privacy door leversgive you a bit of privacy, but without a key. Although these knobs and levers "lock" - they are not considered to be "locking door hardware" - because they don't require a key and they aren't used on the exterior of the home.

Certainly every home has at least one or two rooms that require a bit of extra privacy and that is where you will find a privacy door lock.  The privacy door hardware has a button or a twist lock that only works from one side of the door.

The privacy door handles also have a small hole for a quick release of the lock - just in case of an emergency. So even though you can lock the privacy knob or lever, you don't have to worry about the kids locking themselves in the bathroom!


Where are Privacy Door Knobs and Privacy Door Levers used?

Privacy door knobs are also commonly referred to as "bed and bath" knobs, as that is where they are more often used - bedroom doors and bathroom doors. They can also be used on office doors, water closets, or dens where extra privacy might be needed.

This bathroom features a privacy lever for a bit of bathroom solitude and quiet. A quick twist of the knob will lock the door from the bathroom's interior, and a quick-release hole on the exterior of the door knob allows for access to the room in case of an emergency.

Privacy door knob on a wood bathroom door



Keyed Door Levers and Door Knobs 

Now on to the keyed hardware found in the exterior of your home. Whether it is for door knobs or door levers, all the series of door hardware we offer will have an option for a locking handle or knob. Let's take a closer look at locking door hardware

  1. Entry
  2. Handleset
  3. Deadbolts

1. Entry Knobs and Levers

entry lever and a entry door knob - both requiring a key


What are Entry Door Knobs and Entry Door Levers?

Entry door levers and entry door knobs are used on doors from the exterior to the interior of a home. These door handles have a keyed mechanism that allows the handle to lock and requires a key to release the lock. They are often paired with deadbolts (sometimes sold in entry and deadbolt combos) for added security.

Where are Entry Door Knobs and Entry Door Levers used?

Entry door handles are used on doors that have access to the house from the outside and require additional security. The entry door knob and entry door lever are typically used on exterior entry doors such as; back doors, garage doors, cellar doors, front doors, deck or patio doors, etc.

This exterior door leads into a cleverly and beautifully designed mudroom. The entry and deadbolt combination provides added security to this exit door.


Entry lever and a deadbolt on an exterior mudroom door



2. Front door handlesets - levers and knobs



Front door handleset by Dynasty




What are Front Door Handle Sets?

The front door handleset is just that - a "set" of handles for your front door. The handlesets typically include:

  • deadbolt lock,
  • an elongated decorative (yet functional) handle 
  • interior knob or lever

Sets are locking and require a key to access the interior home.

Where are Front door Handlesets used?

As their descriptive name implies, front door sets are used on the front door of homes as a functional handle to enter the home. Although used for the front of the homes, we have had several customers' front door handles set on storage sheds, back doors, and patio doors. It is also important to note that some homes with double front entries will require two front door sets - one for each door.

The welcoming foyer of this house features a pretty white front door and oil-rubbed bronze front door handleset.

White front door with a bronze front door handlest


What are Deadbolts?

Deadbolts aren't technically door handles or knobs, but they are part of door hardware and used in conjunction with door knobs and door levers.


Deadbolts can be either SINGLE cylinder deadbolts or DOUBLE cylinder deadbolts.

Single cylinder deadbolts

Brass deadbolt with one key and a interior turn knob

What are Single Cylinder Deadbolts?

The single-cylinder deadbolt operates with a key on one side, and the other side is equipped with a turning mechanism, typically a thumb-turn knob, that locks the door from the inside.

Where are Single Cylinder Deadbolts used?

The single-cylinder deadbolt gives your exterior doors some added security, often used in conjunction with either an entry knob or lever, a front door handleset, or a passage door lever or knob.


Note: When purchasing home hardware with different keyed levers or knobs, we can provide keying services so that all locks are keyed to one key. So, you would only need one key for all the entry handles and deadbolts. 

Deadbolt and entry combo on exterior door



Dynasty Double Cylinder Deadbolt in Satin Nickel  DYN-DB-200-US15-KA

What are DOUBLE Cylinder Deadbolts?

Double cylinder deadbolts require a key from both the inside and the outside of the lock. These are not commonly used in residential homes due to their inability to be easily opened in an emergency. In fact, in many states, double cylinder deadbolts are not allowed in residential settings.

Where are DOUBLE Cylinder Deadbolts used?

If your state's residential building codes allow for it, the double cylinder deadbolt can be used in places that require additional security - like exterior doors with glass panes or Dutch doors. Just be sure you know where or have access to the keys should you need to exit the house in a hurry.

Dutch door with deadbolt and round entry knob



Just for fun we thought we would include a blip about pocket door hardware as well.

What is pocket door hardware?

Pocket door hardware handles are used on sliding doors or "pocket" doors when there is no room for a swinging door that hinges.


The sliding door pull are used on sliding doors such as; bi-pass doors, pocket doors or closet doors. The sliding cup pull is used to slide the door from an open position to a closed position. The round pulls fit into the bore hole and are non-functional.




This mudroom features a glass-paneled pocket door with a black round passage cup pull

hall and den pocket door with black round pocket door latch

Passage Pocket Door Lock

The passage pocket door lock does not lock and is used as a grip or pull for a door that retracts to the interior wall.


This sophisticated pocket closet door showcases a round passage pocket door lock.


Pocket door lock on a closet door


Privacy Pocket Door Lock

The privacy pocket door is used in the same type of sliding door used by the passage pocket locks. However, the privacy pocket lock has a locking mechanism for more private spaces.

The pocket latches with the privacy function can be used on "Jack and Jill" bathrooms with slider doors or on bedroom pocket doors where you want a bit more privacy.

Bathroom with a pocket door and a square black pocket door latch for privacy



There you have it! Our guide to door hardware. We hope you better understand the different types of door hardware and where to use them.
As always, if you have any questions - please reach out to us via chat, text, or email. Let our family help your family choose your interior and exterior door hardware.

And check out just some of our other blogs about door hardware.

How to Install a Single-Cylinder Deadbolt 

How To Reverse A Keyed Entry Door Lever





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